I am often asked about blogging. People want to start a blog, want to know if you can make money off a blog (not much more than a few bucks), want to know how I got to go to Disney because of blogging (beats me; lucky I suppose), want to know how I upload photos to my blog, what blogging platform I use….
Here are a few responses I pulled from the emails I’ve sent out recently to questions about blogging:
On going anonymous or giving your blog address out to everyone:
I think anonymous is the way to go if you’re not creating a blog for the family (as in, a family journal or such). It gets a little weird sometimes when family or friends mention something in my blog! 🙂 And I don’t always feel free to just say something I want to say, especially right after the conversation with someone that triggered it.
On blogging platforms (that’s the fancy pants word for whatever keeps your blog showing up in cyberspace):
I like WordPress for starting out, since it’s free and easy to use. Go to http://www.wordpress.com . Here is my old WordPress blog, to give you an idea of what one on WordPress can look like (there are dozens of other design options) : http://loriseaborg.wordpress.com . The only disadvantage to WordPress is that you can’t run ads, but other than that, it’s a great program. If you later want to run ads, you can seamlessly switch to a program like Typepad (where I run my blogs now) . I pay just $7.95 per month and can run 3 blogs on Typepad for that one price. It’s not expensive, but if you want free, WordPress is a good free one. (by the way, if you use Typepad, could you use my link? They’ll give me some sort of referral discount for it).
On domain names (warning: this section is a bit techno-geeky):
I said “seamlessly” switch later, but that’s not exactly true if you use a blog name such as lori.WORDPRESS.com instead of, say, lori.com. If you use lori.wordpress.com and later switch to something like lori.typepad.com, all of your visitors (blog traffic) will disappear because they’re visiting lori.wordpress.com . So, basically, you have to start all over as far as visitors (simply telling them to go to the new site is only effective with about 50% of the readers — trust me on this).
So…..if you’re really serious, you need to decide if you’re ever going to run ads on the blog. If you think you might, just go to a service like Typepad from the start (it’s a great service anyway!). Or get your own domain name (eg. lori.com), which can redirect to a new site, keeping your visitors going to the right place.
On naming the blog:
Did you read this post about how Just Pure Lovely was named? It took quite a while to “think” up the name, and I actually didn’t think it up at all — it just sort of came to me one day. FreelyEducate.com, my educational blog, was a spin off name of FreeHomeschool, a Yahoo! group I’d run for a couple of years before starting FreelyEducate. I didn’t want the new blog to be limited by “homeschool” in the name, as FreelyEducate is for all parents and educators (all parents are educators!), so FreelyEducate was a good fit. Plus, the domain name (the .com name) was available for purchase.
On uploading photos:
I use Flickr.com for uploading and storing my photos. http://www.flickr.com . It’s owned by Yahoo! It’s free for quite a while, or if you rarely use it, and then it’s $20-something annually if you need it to be unlimited (mine is). They then call you a “pro account,” which will make you feel like some sort of professional photographer and you’ll want to show off your (non-existent) press credentials next time you go to a concert. Consider this insurance for your photos. I use a hard drive to back up my photos, but if we have a house fire, I’d lose both our computer and the hard drive, right? So, storing the best ones online gives me yet another back up. Here is my Flickr page, to give you an idea of what one looks like: http://www.flickr.com/photos/loriseaborg/
On why you’d ever want to blog:
You need to blog for you, from your heart, not to an “audience.” You will burn out quickly if you don’t blog for yourself first, and for others, second. That may sound odd, but if you don’t love blogging, don’t do it. Not everyone should blog. Someone has to stand up and hold the microphone! It certainly won’t be me.
Why blog? You ask yourself. To keep a record of your thoughts? To keep a family journal? To inspire people? To keep a log of crafting, recipes you cook, your weight loss? Think about this for a while.
Renee Ollis, a Just Pure Lovely reader, started a new blog recently. Go here to read her story of how she became inspired to start her blog. It’s fun (and humbling) when you read a story of where your blog has travelled.
Okay, everyone reading this, start a blog, quick now if you haven’t, then leave a comment so we can visit you, too!